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Bridging Over Sino-US Differences

At the time when leaders from various countries are going to gather in New York to attend the grand UN millennium meeting, a large-scale China international cultural exchange activity with "approaching China" as the theme will open in the headquarters of the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will deliver a congratulatory address at the first concert.

The "2000 US Tour of Chinese Culture", sponsored by the Information Office and the Ministry of Culture of the State Council, will be held in nine American cities, including New York, Washington and Chicago. This is another large-scale international cultural exchange activity held by the Chinese government, following the '99 Paris China Culture Week.

When commenting on the special significance of holding such an activity, Zhao Qizheng said that Sino-US relationship is one of the most important foreign relations of China. A sound development of Sino-American ties is of great significance to the two countries and to the world as a whole. To enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples of China and the United States, it is thus necessary to present a genuine, brand-new image of China before the American people, said Zhao. He added that this Chinese image includes the following points: China is a country with great history and cultural traditions and a beautiful country with rich cultural and unmatched magnificent landscape. The Chinese people are industrious, brave and hard-working, building up their motherland with their own hands, and they are a friendly, kind and peace-loving people. That is the major aim of the "2000 US Tour of Chinese Culture."

This activity has drawn attention from leaders of China and the United States. Chinese President Jiang Zemin said that history and reality have both proved that strengthening cultural exchanges between peoples of different countries is conducive to the development of human civilization. US President Bill Clinton said art is the common language of mankind, endowing us the power to surmount regional and cultural barriers. Both have written congratulatory messages for the activity.

According to Zhao Qizheng, the "2000 US Tour of Chinese Culture" from August 24 to September 17 will start with a traditional Chinese Concert in the Assembly Hall of the UN headquarters and end with a folk dance concert in Los Angeles, with its scale far surpassing that of last year's Paris Culture Week. Its main contents include large-scale exhibitions, theatrical performances and speeches. The exhibitions will show not only Chinese history and culture, but also a modern China advancing toward a new millennium.

During the activity, a speech is to be given by Zhao Qizheng entitled "The United States and American People in the Eyes of Chinese People". Why this topic? Zhao said he wanted to convince the Americans with true stories. First of all, the Chinese government and people share views in common about America and American people. Next, there is no anti-American atmosphere prevalent in China. Zhao said, “ When the English word ‘America’ first came to China centuries ago, it was translated into Chinese characters meaning ‘a beautiful country’. That is an image we Chinese always expect from you.”

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